*Vanessa is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for $30.00 Amazon or B&N Gift card and FOUR sets of the first two books in the series (Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom).
Title: Tall, Dark, and Royal (The Renegade Royals #2.5)
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Publishing Date: November 25, 2014 (from Zebra / Kensington)
Source: eARC via Netgalley
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
He’s the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England’s Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal…
Magnificent and stubborn. Fourteen years apart had not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic’s love for her. He’d been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he’d never belonged anywhere—except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal—like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help—and hopefully make up for lost time…
Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he’d become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both…
Why did I want to read this book?
I first met Dominic and Chloe back in the prequel of Vanessa Kelly’s The Renegade Royals, Lost in a Royal Kiss, when they have been young, close as best friends, and then scarred with a devastating turn of events. Now that they’re older and are pretty much reunited, meaning that they’re back in each other’s lives, I can’t wait for these two to have their long-time-a-coming happily ever after.
What worked for me?
Obviously, it’s a second-chance romance but not in the obvious way as most cases. They once were the best of friends but grave circumstances have forced them apart and out of each other’s lives until many years later when Chloe resurfaced to seek help from her son (story in Book #2) and was finally reunited with her son and of course with Dominic. These two are now given a second chance to find happiness together and it was a great experience to finally see these two take that final journey toward each other.
One of the things I appreciated in this novella is that it wasn’t about the instant happy ending, the instant reunion, the instant rekindling of the flame. Dominic and Chloe were apart for so many years that they aren’t the same people they once were when they they’ve known each other more than anybody else would have. And they both acknowledge that in the story. Obviously, time had taken a lot from them but they also realize that it might take time to get to know each other more. And that’s what they both do. But I also know that, despite their time apart, strong feelings never do go away, and I can still totally understand and accept that time has not erased their feelings for each other.
Another thing that I really appreciated in the story was the conflict about Chloe wanting to continue her work helping women, despite it being dangerous part of the time, and Dominic wanting her safe, always. Suffice it to say, I was satisfied with how this was resolved because not only does the resolution speak highly of them as individuals, it also speaks of how highly they regard and respect each other.
What did not work for me?
Generally, I didn’t have any misgivings about this novella.
My over-all take on it?
This was a fitting HEA for Dominic and Chloe. They’ve been through a lot. They’ve made mistakes in the past but they were able to rise above them. And now their reunion promises a lot for them if they know what to be steadfast in and where to compromise. They’re pretty smart people so I knew they’ll have it figured out.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
Dominic strode through but came to a sudden halt, his heart jolting at the sight of Chloe reclining on a chaise with a bandage wrapped around her head. Justine Steele, Dominic’s godchild, sat next to her holding a teacup. Lounging in a nearby armchair was Griffin Steele, Chloe’s son and Justine’s husband.
“What the hell is going on here?” Dominic snapped. He glared at Griffin, who had a knack for finding or, indeed, creating trouble. “How did your mother get hurt?”
Griffin let out a dramatic sigh as he came to his feet. “You have a lamentable tendency to blame me for everything, Dominic. I had nothing to do with Mother’s, er, little accident.”
Chloe threw aside her lap robe and stood. “Dominic, I’m fine. There’s nothing for you to worry about.”
But when she wobbled, Justine had to make a grab for her. In an instant, Dominic was by Chloe’s side. “For God’s sake, sit down.” He gently lowered her back to the chaise.
Her tall, slender body felt fragile in his hands, as if the merest touch could break her. But appearances were deceptive. For all her pale, delicate beauty, Chloe had a strong will and character that had withstood years of tribulation.
“You know the doctor told you to stay off your feet and rest,” Justine affectionately scolded.
“I’m not sure how she’s supposed to rest with you lot fussing over her,” Griffin said. “Hill has been popping in and out like a character from a farce, not to mention all the girls sneaking in. It’s a bloody circus.”
Justine frowned at her husband. “They’re worried about Chloe.”
Dominic throttled back his impulse to snap. “I would be most grateful if someone—anyone—would answer my question. Wait,” he said to Justine. “First, tell me what the physician said.”
“Perhaps you might try asking Chloe, Sir Dominic,” Chloe said with pointed courtesy. “As you can see, she is perfectly capable of speech.”
Dominic mentally winced. Chloe only used his title when annoyed with him. “I’m sorry, my dear. But it was a shock to come upon you looking like you’d been set upon by thieves.”
Thankfully, she flashed him a wry, forgiving smile. “Apology accepted.” She shifted her legs and patted the seat of the chaise. “Sit down and let Justine get you a cup of tea while I’ll tell you all about it. Not that I wanted you to drag you into this ridiculous and unfortunate episode, but my son insisted. Who knew Griffin could fuss and worry as much as any old maid?”
Her son—one of the most ruthless and powerful men in London—rolled his eyes but declined to defend himself.
“What happened to your head?” Dominic eyed the bandage wrapped around her brow.
“I bumped it, that’s all,” Chloe replied. “The doctor insisted I wear this silly thing and my son won’t let me take it off.”
Griffin narrowed his dark gaze on his mother. “You didn’t bump your head. It was bumped for you when that bloody bastard shoved you into the wall. And you will keep that bandage on for as long as is required.”
Dominic had been reaching to accept a cup from Justine, but his hand froze in mid-air. Slowly, he turned to Chloe. “Someone shoved you?”
Chloe’s shoulders unconsciously hiked up a notch. “Yes, but it wasn’t a very hard shove. Truly, I’m fine.”
Dominic could hear Griffin grinding his teeth from several feet away. He sympathized, but the situation was confusing enough without him losing his temper, at least not until he’d apprised himself of the facts.
But once he tracked down the man who had dared to touch Chloe, the bastard would rue the day he was born.
About the Author:
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.
Connect with Vanessa Kelly:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
$30.00 Amazon or B&N Gift card and FOUR sets of the first two books in the series (Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom)
Other books by Vanessa Kelly on the blog:
Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom (The Renegade Royals #2)